Unless they are extremely dirty, a puppy should be at least six to eight weeks old before its first bath. A newborn puppy is typically groomed by its mother, when needed, so that bathing when they are very young is not necessary. However, once it reaches the proper age, it is important to get a puppy accustomed to taking baths, so that bath time will be an easier process when it is fully grown.
When bathing, it is important to keep the puppy from catching a chill. The temperature of the water should be comfortable to the owner's skin. It should not be scalding hot nor freezing cold, but just slightly warmer than room temperature. Be sure to use puppy shampoo and conditioner, rather than using human or adult dog formulas which may be too harsh.
Once the bath is complete, it is important to dry the puppy, using a hair dryer (set to warm, not hot) if necessary. Do not let the puppy outside until it is fully dry, especially in cold weather, as it can cause illnesses. If the puppy reacts badly to the hair dryer, dry the hair naturally by brushing and squeezing its fur dry with a towel. Dog ears should also be gently patted with cotton pads or towels, so that the water does not cause ear infections. These happen most often in dogs with long ears that hang and close off the ear canal from air circulation.